Blog from Pastor Matt

Our team from Rancho del Rey Chuch just finished their second day of work here in the village of Tonj with the Dinka people.  We are all doing very well.  I will give you the highlights: Getting here, our 28 hours of flying went relatively well, as well as can be expected from 28 hours of sitting on a plane.  Nobody got sick, so Praise the Lord for that! Dennis, Cody and Thadd are working their butts off making bricks for the new medical clinic.  Sweat is literally pouring off of them all morning long!  But they work with happy hearts and joyful spirits.  Cody led worship for us last night around a camp fire after dinner.  He did a great job. The girls, Christie, Skylar, Marli and Annabelle, helped with an outreach medical clinic to the village of Maloy today.  Among other things, the chief of a neighboring village asked Mike Yordt, who was with them, if he would let him have all three available girls (Christie is already married) for 1,000 cows.  Mike said no, but perhaps a little reluctantly, as 1,000 cows is an outrageous price in Sudan. I have been teaching the pastors, Sabet is translating for me and as ever, he is doing an incredible job.  It is a smaller group this time, but this allows us more time for questions.  They are definitely growing in their understanding of the Word.  On the first day, when they came into class, I asked them, instead of sitting at desks while I teach, to show me how respected men in their culture discuss important things.  They told me that they sit around in a circle on the floor. So, I had them remove the desks from the classroom and we sat on the floor together for a few minutes.  I told them that they are pastors just like me.  I have come to teach them, but they are servants of God too and that we will learn from each other.  As they were getting up to put the desks back, one of the pastors, named Moses, said in Dinka, “You know, Abuna Marial (Pastor Matt), he’s almost a Dinka.”  I think that is probably the best compliment I have ever received!! As ever, the work in the medical clinic goes on.  A woman brought in her baby girl two nights ago.  She also had a baby boy that they took to the witch doctor, but he only got worse and died that night.  Because of this, they finally decided to come to the clinic.  This kind of thing is a regular occurence in a culture that is steeped in animism, or the worship of spirits.  This is part of the reason that the work here is so important.  It is a battle of worldviews, where the gospel of Jesus must be shown to be the true path to spiritual life. This afternoon we went into the city of Tonj to do a basketball outreach.  We had the little kids do drills on the only basketball court for probably 200 miles.  It is a sorry looking court, but we made the best of it.  We even played against a team of young men from the village.  We lost because we are out of shape.  We told everyone to come back tomorrow and bring their friends because we want to do another camp with them, teaching them more and also tell them about the church in the compound and introduce them to Jesus. So, if you have some time today, please pray for our outreach tomorrow.  It will begin at 4:00 pm Sudan time, which will be about 5:00 am your time, Friday morning.  Thanks so much for your prayer. As always, it is a totally different world here.  Everybody on the team is doing extremely well and we have been able to be a blessing to the people from RdR who are now working here full time.  We feel your love and your prayers.  God is good and he is doing amazing things.  Thank you for your support and love.  We will be home soon, so keep praying for us. May God bless you richly today!  You will be hearing from other team members on this blog in the following days. -Pastor Matt